Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

14 Nov 2016

Week 10 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

Last week, we introduced some new metrics intended to measure players' ability to pick up big chunks of real estate in one play, to find the stars of the game who make the highlight reels by flipping field position in just one snap. Today we're going to look at the NFL's defenses and see which teams are best at preventing plays like this, not producing them, but first I want to respond to some of the feedback we got last week.

Here's a quick look at what I wrote about this idea seven days ago:

The basic concept is to divide all offense yardage into two categories: those yards that move a team towards (or, in the cases of sacks, stuffs, and penalties, pull a team away from) the first down, and those that are accumulated after the first-down line has been crossed. I like to call these extra yards. So a 2-yard gain on third-and-1 has 1 extra yard. A 15-yard gain on third-and-5 includes 10 extra yards. A 9-yard gain on first-and-10 is a good play, but it produces zero extra yards. All incompletions and sacks also produce zero extra yards. By this definition, there can never be negative extra yardage on a play -- extra yards either happen or they don't, and once gained they don't go away.

This seems like a reasonable method for counting the total yardage gained on big plays, but we still need a concrete definition of what is and is not a big play if we want to measure their frequency. Rather than arbitrarily set a designation at 10 or 20 or 30 yards, I propose this definition: a play counts as a big play when it gains a first down, then gains enough yardage after that to effectively grant the offense at least one more first down on top of that. In other words, all plays that gain at least 10 extra yards count as big plays, because by their nature they basically produce two first downs at once.

As some of the reader comments pointed out, the terminology and methodology don't exactly match up here. A 1-yard gain can certainly be a big play if it comes on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter -- just ask any Patriots fan who watched the final minutes of the Sunday night game against Seattle.

Another reader said this could be solved simply using the term "explosive plays" instead of "big plays." This makes total sense, and even better, it leads to more similar terms and abbreviations. We can now say that yards gained after the first down line are called extra yards (XY), and by using XY we can tally the total number of explosive plays (XP).

Is this methodology perfect? No it is not. This will still result in things like a 21-yard gain on third-and-20 not counting as XP and producing barely any XY. I'm satisfied in that for now though, because those plays are rare. We got one suggestion that we simply count all yards gained on first-down plays as explosive, but for what I'm looking to measure here, I'd rather throw out the dozens of 2-yard gains on third-and-1, than include the occasional extra-long third-down conversion.

So we've got all that worked out. Now, let's look at the defenses that have fared the best at preventing explosive plays this season. (Unfortunately, we are still having data collection issues that are stopping us from getting numbers from each week's games analyzed overnight, so all numbers here include only Weeks 1 through 9.) We'll start with the run, since explosive rushes (I almost typed "explosive runs" right there, but if your team is having trouble with explosive runs, then you need more help than this website can provide) are naturally less frequent than explosive pass plays. And no defense this year has been better and preventing explosive running plays than the team that beat New England Sunday night.


Best Defenses, Preventing Explosive Rushes, Weeks 1-9, 2016
Team Runs XP% Rank XY/Run Rank
SEA 221 0.9% 1 0.69 1
MIN 180 1.7% 2 1.04 11
CAR 179 1.7% 3 0.83 4
BUF 231 1.7% 4 0.79 3
NYG 202 2.5% 5 0.78 2
CHI 197 2.5% 6 0.86 5
NE 191 2.6% 7 0.98 8
JAC 221 2.7% 8 1.08 13
DET 214 2.8% 9 1.40 28
BAL 173 2.9% 10 1.07 12
WAS 201 3.0% 11 1.33 23
TEN 199 3.0% 12 1.03 10
DEN 254 3.1% 13 1.14 16
TB 221 3.2% 14 0.95 6
NO 189 3.2% 15 1.37 25
PIT 185 3.2% 16 1.41 29
Team Runs XP% Rank XY/Run Rank
CIN 203 3.4% 17 1.20 19
LARM 201 3.5% 18 1.22 21
KC 198 3.5% 19 1.13 15
SD 195 3.6% 20 1.10 14
HOU 222 3.6% 21 1.14 17
ARI 206 3.9% 22 1.16 18
SF 281 3.9% 23 1.94 32
GB 177 4.0% 24 0.97 7
ATL 200 4.0% 25 0.99 9
NYJ 196 4.1% 26 1.21 20
IND 215 4.2% 27 1.34 24
OAK 215 4.2% 28 1.40 27
PHI 187 4.3% 29 1.60 31
DAL 163 4.3% 30 1.24 22
CLE 276 4.3% 31 1.37 26
MIA 227 6.2% 32 1.54 30

The Seahawks have only given up two explosive running plays all season: a 34-yard run on first-and-10 by Carlos Hyde in Week 3, and a 28-yard run on second-and-6 by Tim Hightower in the loss to New Orleans in Week 8. That's it. Otherwise, the longest run against Seattle this year was an 18-yarder by Devonta Freeman in Week 6, and that came on first-and-10. This is why the Seattle defense ranks first in both categories here.

And then there are the Dolphins, whose ranking here is extraordinary. The Dolphins have surrendered an explosive gain on 6.2 percent of opponents' runs. The second-worst team, Cleveland (4.3 percent), is closer to the sixth-best team (Chicago, 2.5 percent), than it is to Miami. Matt Forte had as many explosive gains in one half against Miami as Seattle has allowed on the ground all year. However, only one of those long runs Miami has allowed gained more than 40 yards: a 60-yard gain by Darrius Heyward-Bey in Week 6. The Eagles, for all their success in 2016, have allowed two 40-yard runs, and the 49ers have allowed five. And that is why Philadelphia and San Francisco rank below Miami in XY allowed per run.

And now the pass defenses:


Best Defenses, Preventing Explosive Passes Weeks 1-9, 2016
Team Passes XP% Rank XY/Pass Rank
DEN 351 6.6% 1 2.01 1
SEA 317 7.6% 2 2.59 6
DAL 317 7.9% 3 2.34 4
ARI 297 8.1% 4 2.30 2
NYJ 355 8.7% 5 3.20 25
MIN 326 8.9% 6 2.31 3
BAL 303 8.9% 7 2.67 10
LARM 318 9.1% 8 2.52 5
HOU 269 9.3% 9 2.66 9
WAS 312 9.3% 10 2.61 7
PIT 320 9.4% 11 3.01 20
CHI 318 9.7% 12 2.70 12
SD 398 9.8% 13 2.78 15
ATL 409 10.3% 14 2.69 11
PHI 305 10.5% 15 2.71 13
NYG 368 10.6% 16 2.85 16
Team Passes XP% Rank XY/Pass Rank
KC 317 10.7% 17 2.86 17
JAC 303 10.9% 18 2.77 14
MIA 293 10.9% 19 2.93 18
NE 334 11.1% 20 2.66 8
TEN 361 11.1% 21 2.94 19
CAR 324 11.1% 22 3.26 26
CIN 300 11.3% 23 3.32 27
DET 340 11.5% 24 3.05 22
BUF 324 11.7% 25 3.55 28
SF 279 12.2% 26 3.03 21
GB 295 12.2% 27 3.20 24
IND 375 12.3% 28 3.10 23
NO 315 12.4% 29 3.86 30
TB 309 12.6% 30 3.84 29
OAK 345 14.5% 31 3.90 31
CLE 318 15.1% 32 4.09 32
Includes Sacks and DPIs

The kings, they ain't dead yet. Denver's defense carried an impotent offense to a Super Bowl championship last year, and they remain the best unit in the league when it comes to forcing opponents to march down the field. It's awfully hard for quarterbacks to complete deep passes when Von Miller is repeatedly slamming them into the turf. Seattle's defense has been nearly as good at preventing explosive passes as it has preventing explosive rushes. The Jets are surprisingly high in preventing explosive passes, but as low as you would expect in allowing extra yards. This is what happens when you allow nine 40-yard completions in nine games.

The Browns haven't had a single defensive back start more than eight of their ten games. This is the reason (well, a reason) they have lost each of those ten games. Oakland's secondary has hardly been any better, and that could be the ultimate undoing of a 7-2 team. And the Patriots are the anti-Jets. They give up explosive completions fairly regularly, but those completions aren't that explosive.

When you put rushing and passing plays together, you find a familiar team at the top, and it's the same team that has led the NFL in scoring defense four years in a row.


Best Defenses, Preventing All Explosive Plays, Weeks 1-9, 2016
Team Plays XP% Rank XY/Play Rank
SEA 538 4.8% 1 1.81 2
DEN 605 5.1% 2 1.64 1
MIN 506 6.3% 3 1.86 4
ARI 503 6.4% 4 1.83 3
DAL 480 6.7% 5 1.96 5
HOU 491 6.7% 6 1.97 6
BAL 476 6.7% 7 2.09 11
WAS 513 6.8% 8 2.11 12
LARM 519 6.9% 9 2.01 8
CHI 515 7.0% 10 2.00 7
NYJ 551 7.1% 11 2.49 28
PIT 505 7.1% 12 2.42 24
JAC 524 7.4% 13 2.06 10
BUF 555 7.6% 14 2.40 22
NYG 570 7.7% 15 2.12 13
CAR 503 7.8% 16 2.39 21
Team Plays XP% Rank XY/Play Rank
SD 593 7.8% 17 2.23 16
KC 515 8.0% 18 2.19 15
NE 525 8.0% 19 2.05 9
SF 560 8.0% 20 2.48 27
DET 554 8.1% 21 2.41 23
PHI 492 8.1% 22 2.29 18
CIN 503 8.2% 23 2.46 26
ATL 609 8.2% 24 2.13 14
TEN 560 8.2% 25 2.26 17
TB 530 8.7% 26 2.63 29
MIA 520 8.8% 27 2.32 19
NO 504 8.9% 28 2.93 31
GB 472 9.1% 29 2.36 20
IND 590 9.3% 30 2.46 25
CLE 594 10.1% 31 2.82 30
OAK 560 10.5% 32 2.94 32
Includes Sacks and DPIs

Though the Broncos get credit for allowing fewer extra yards, the Seahawks allow fewer explosive plays than anyone, and if I had time to check the numbers I suspect they'd be close to the top in each of the past four seasons. Most of the other defenses at the top of this table are those you'd expect. And then there's the Cowboys. The Dallas defense has been mediocre overall (14th in DVOA through Week 9), but they haven't given up many explosive plays. They may not always beat you, but they do not beat themselves.

And then the Raiders are, well, the Raiders. With seven wins and counting, they may well wind up getting a playoff game in Oakland. But if their defense gives up as many explosive plays in that game as they have in the first half of the year, then it will probably be a one-and-done postseason journey.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
37/46
408
3
0
1
193
196
-4
DAL
The Steelers had a first-and-goal at the 7 in the third quarter, but then Roethlisberger threw three straight incompletions. He had just one play on Pittsburgh's next drive, a third-down sack. And then his last 15 dropbacks all resulted in completions a stretch that produced 200 yards and nine first downs. Roethlisberger also ranks No. 1 this week despite a big hit in opponent adjustments. This is the week opponent adjustments go up to 100 percent strength, and with an unusually large gap between the best and worst defenses in 2016, we're seeing som particularly strong opponent adjustment. Roethlisberger was one of three quarterbacks to lose 40 or more DYAR to those adjustments this week.
2.
Kirk Cousins WAS
22/33
262
2
0
1
175
175
0
MIN
And then there's Cousins, whose boost from opponent adjustments was almost equal in degree to Roethlisberger's penalty. Cousins gets a lot of credit for playing the Vikings stellar defense -- his 66.7 percent completion rate, 7.9 yards per pass, two touchdowns, and no interceptions were all best or second-best of any starting quarterback against Minnesota this year. However, he loses points for a dreadful red zone performance -- 2-of-7 for 2 yards (a 4-yard touchdown and a 2-yard loss), plus a sack. This is largely why Dustin Hopkins ended up kicking four field goals.
3.
Drew Brees NO
21/29
303
3
2
1
142
141
1
DEN
Brees' opponent adjustments were even stronger than Cousins'. All told, five quarterbacks this week gained at least 40 DYAR due to said adjustments, which means we've got three to go. Brees had his struggles in the first half, including interceptions on back-to-back passes, but he was just about flawless in the second and third quarters, going 13-of-15 for 194 yards (though two of those completions were fumbled by Brees' receivers and recovered by Denver), with one sack and 11 first downs, including a 32-yard touchdown pass (against the NFL's best defense at preventing long passes) that should have won the game, but, well, blocks happen. At one point he picked up first downs on eight straight dropbacks. Brock Osweiler only had six first downs in an entire game this week.
4.
Marcus Mariota TEN
19/26
295
4
0
2
138
142
-4
GB
Deep passes: 5-of-8 for 149 yards and two touchdowns, including three third-down conversions.
5.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
17/24
240
2
0
1
122
116
5
SD
In last week's piece, we noted that Tannehill ranked surprisingly high in explosive passing plays. Well that didn't change against San Diego -- he completed 4-of-5 deep passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
6.
Tom Brady NE
23/32
316
0
1
2
119
140
-21
SEA
This was the first fime Brady threw an interception without a touchdown since October of 2013 against the Jets. It was the first time he has thrown an interception without a touchdown at home since December of of 2007 -- also against the Jets. So of course, Brady's next opponent is -- the 49ers. But THEN he plays the Jets.
7.
Russell Wilson SEA
26/37
348
3
0
3
119
122
-3
NE
Those 348 yards were, very quietly, a career high for Wilson.
8.
Sam Bradford MIN
31/40
307
2
1
3
91
91
0
WAS
Washington's first two drives in the second half went 14 and 11 plays. As a result Bradford threw just one pass in the third quarter: a 9-yard gain on first-and-10. On Minnesota's three straight touchdown drives he went 10-of-12 for 156 yards and eight first downs. The rest of the game, he went 21-of-28 for 151 yards and eight first downs, with three sacks and an interception.
9.
Jameis Winston TB
23/33
312
2
1
4
91
91
0
CHI
Not everything in Chicago is Jay Cutler's fault. On passes that traveled at least 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, Winston went 12-of-14 for 220 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
10.
Colin Kaepernick SF
17/30
210
1
0
3
84
70
14
ARI
You can include Kaepernick on the list of quarterbacks who got a boost of at least 40 DYAR this week due to opponent adjustments.
11.
Dak Prescott DAL
22/32
319
2
0
2
63
63
0
PIT
12.
Matt Ryan ATL
19/33
267
1
1
2
59
59
0
PHI
In a week where opponent adjustments caused great change in the rankings, no quarterback saw a bigger boost than Ryan's 90. In 35 dropbacks, Ryan threw for only eight first downs against the Eagles. He had been averaging nearly double that, 15.9 per game, and never thrown less than 10 -- and that came on 30 dropbacks against Denver.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Cam Newton CAR
23/38
261
1
1
2
50
40
10
KC
14.
Carson Palmer ARI
30/48
376
1
2
2
49
45
5
SF
15.
Blake Bortles JAC
32/49
265
2
1
2
24
67
-43
HOU
16.
Carson Wentz PHI
25/36
231
0
0
2
22
14
8
ATL
Wentz was nearly perfect in short-yardage. With 5 yards or fewer to go for a first down, he went 7-of-9 for 66 yards, with every completion going for a first down. A tenth throw resulted in a DPI for 21 more yards.
17.
Andy Dalton CIN
14/27
211
1
1
2
14
2
13
NYG
Dalton had long streaks of inadequacy in this game. Following his first-quarter touchdown to A.J. Green, his next 11 dropbacks resulted in zero first downs, a stretch in which he went 6-of-10 for 41 yards, plus a sack. He picked up a few first downs at the end of the half, and then on his first throw of the third quarter. After that, though, he had one first down in his final 13 dropbacks, going 3-of-11 for 29 yards with an interception and two sacks.
18.
Cody Kessler CLE
11/18
91
1
0
1
12
11
1
BAL
Kessler only threw two passes in Baltimore territory. Both were complete, for 32 total yards and a touchdown.
19.
Eli Manning NYG
27/43
240
3
2
1
3
1
2
CIN
20.
Brock Osweiler HOU
14/28
99
2
0
1
1
-10
11
JAC
From the 1:15 mark in the second quarter to the 8:10 mark of the third, Osweiler threw nine incompletions in a row. That is almost certainly the longest such streak this season.
21.
Aaron Rodgers GB
31/51
371
2
2
5
-2
-15
14
TEN
22.
Joe Flacco BAL
30/40
296
3
2
2
-11
-8
-3
CLE
Flacco lost 69 DYAR (alert Rob Gronkowski) due to opponent adjustments this week. Remember earlier when we pointed out that Cleveland was the worst defense in the league at preventing explosive passes? Flacc only threw five passes that traveled 15 yards or more past the line of scrimmage. Two were caught for 44 total yards and a touchdown. Two were intercepted. One was incomplete.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Case Keenum LARM
17/30
165
0
0
3
-54
-62
8
NYJ
The Rams won this game, but it's not because of Keenum's red zone performance. Inside the Jets' 20, he went 1-of-5 for zero yards, plus a sack. Yes, in six plays, he remained inert five times and moved backwards once.
24.
Alex Smith KC
25/38
178
0
1
3
-57
-57
0
CAR
Third downs: 3-of-9 for 14 yards with one interception, one sack, and zero conversions. The Cheifs were only team in the league this week that failed to complete a pass for a third-down conversion.
25.
Bryce Petty NYJ
19/32
167
1
1
1
-57
-57
0
LARM
The second pass of Bryce Petty's first NFL start was a deep ball to Robby Anderson for 52 yards. It was his only completion that day that gained more than 11 yards.
26.
Philip Rivers SD
23/44
326
3
4
3
-58
-58
0
MIA
Rivers had a rather eventful fourth quarter: 9-of-18 for 147 yards with six first downs (including a touchdown), four interceptions (also including a touchdown), and a sack. But he does gain 54 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.
27.
Trevor Siemian DEN
25/40
258
2
2
6
-134
-129
-5
NO
Siemian lost 73 DYAR to opponent adjustments, the biggest penalty of any quarterback this week.
28.
Josh McCown CLE
6/13
59
0
2
3
-143
-143
0
BAL
McCown fumbled on two of his three sacks.
29.
Jay Cutler CHI
16/30
182
1
2
4
-159
-162
3
TB
Remember when we said the Chiefs were the only team this week that failed to complete a pass for a first down? That is technically true, but we should also point out that Cutler's only third-down conversion came with the Bears trailing by 24 points in the final minute of the game. On third downs, he went 2-of-7 for 13 yards with an interception and three sacks.


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
21
114
2
2/2
95
1
92
50
42
PIT
Opponent adjustments can and will fluctuate over the rest of the season, but right now this was the best game a running back has had in 2016. Touchdown runs of 32 and 14 yards, five other first downs on the ground, while getting hit for no gain or a loss three times. His best catch was his 83-yard touchdown on second-and-18, but that 12-yard gain on second-and-8 helped too.
2.
C.J. Prosise SEA
17
66
0
7/7
87
0
60
27
33
NE
Five of Prosise's catches gained at least 7 yards and a first down, including two third-down conversions. He had only two first downs on the ground, and his longest run gained only 10 yards, but he was hit for no gain just twice.
3.
LeGarrette Blount NE
21
69
3
0/0
0
0
54
54
0
SEA
Touchdown runs of 13, 1, and 1 yard, with three other first downs, though he was hit for no gain or a loss six times.
4.
Bilal Powell NYJ
4
37
0
7/8
48
0
50
16
34
LARM
This is actually under-rating Powell a bit, because it's not including his touchdown on a hook-and-lateral play from Brandon Marshall. Bear with us -- we're still inputting data manually this week, and tricky plays like that are hard to account for. Still, Powell had two other first downs on plays where he actually caught the ball, and three more first downs on the ground on gains of 3, 14, and 17 yards.
5.
Ryan Mathews PHI
19
109
2
2/2
30
0
41
30
11
ATL
Runs of 21, 20, and 14 yards, plus eight total first downs on the ground, while getting hit for no gain or a loss just once. He also had a 20-yard reception on second-and-1.


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
LeGarrette Blount NE
21
69
3
0/0
0
0
54
54
0
SEA
2.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
21
114
2
2/2
95
1
92
50
42
PIT
3.
DeMarco Murray TEN
17
123
1
2/3
33
0
30
31
-2
GB
Murray only had one first down on the ground, but it was a 75-yard touchdown on his first carry. He was hit for no gain or a loss three times. Murray also had 24 DYAR passing for his touchdown throw to Delanie Walker, which should have put him in the top five for overall runners, but we're doing are best to get all this data compiled and organized, folks.
4.
Spencer Ware KC
13
61
0
3/3
11
0
25
31
-7
CAR
His longest gain was only 12 yards, but he had seven first downs in six carries, while getting hit for no gain or a loss just once.
5.
Ryan Mathews PHI
19
109
2
2/2
30
0
41
30
11
ATL


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Matt Asiata MIN
9
13
1
1/1
2
0
-41
-40
-1
WAS
Only two first downs, a long run of 6, and four stuffs for no gain or a loss.


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Matt Asiata MIN
9
13
1
1/1
2
0
-41
-40
-1
WAS


Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Stefon Diggs MIN
13
15
164
12.6
0
60
WAS
Nine first downs, including three conversions in four third-down throws, and a long gain of 36.
2.
Davante Adams GB
6
9
156
26.0
0
57
TEN
Five first downs, including gains of 46, 38, and 35 yards.
3.
Doug Baldwin SEA
6
8
59
9.8
3
54
NE
Baldwin's three touchdowns covered 6, 18, and 15 yards.
4.
Brandin Cooks NO
3
5
98
32.7
1
50
DEN
Only three catches, but all of them covered 29 yards or more. Cooks is personally responsible for three of the ten longest completions Denver has allowed this year. Weirdly, Tevin Coleman has two of the top three.
5.
Jeremy Kerley SF
7
7
71
10.1
1
49
ARI
Kerley's longest catch gained only 24 yards, but he had five total first downs, and all seven grabs gained at least 3 yards and counted as successful plays.


Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Allen Hurns JAC
2
7
13
6.5
0
-44
HOU
Hurns two catches did go for first downs, but he fumbled on one of them. That hurts his DYAR even though Jacksonville recovered.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 14 Nov 2016

42 comments, Last at 15 Nov 2016, 5:48pm by RBroPF

Comments

1
by eggwasp :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 9:18am

"But if their defense gives up as many explosive plays in that game as they have in the first half of the year, then it will probably be a one-and-done postseason journey."

Yes, they'll have lost by about 300 points if they give up over 56 explosive plays in that playoff game.

5
by intel_chris :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 10:12am

LOL -- you know he meant average not sum, but the image of 56 explosive plays, well it reminds me of routs that some SBs have actually been. So, I have to laugh to keep from crying....

15
by DavidL :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:17pm

That reminds me, it's the sixth anniversary of that time Mike Vick played real-life Madden against Washington.

2
by Travis :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 9:30am

Those 348 yards were, very quietly, a career high for Wilson.

Career high for the regular season, but Wilson threw for 385 in the playoff loss to the Falcons in 2012 and 366 against the Panthers last year.

3
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 9:55am

It's weird thinking that on the basis of explosive plays versus yards allowed on those plays, that the defense NE's most resembles is Jacksonville.

I apologize if you just threw up a little.

25
by RBroPF :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 2:29pm

What that means is that they're giving up some intermediate throws (11 yards on 3rd and 1 or 15 yards on 2nd and 5), rather than actual big plays like 40 yard bombs.

33
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 3:23pm

I guess I just think of Jacksonville as being awful all around. Is their defense Bortlesing it up, too?

4
by intel_chris :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 10:07am

Thank you for this concept. It is a balance to DVOA that is needed. DVOA is a wonderful stat for counting consistency of a teams performance. However, much of football is governed by things that happen rarely. Explosive plays are a big part of that, and the reason many of us watch the game.

Importantly, it is often these big plays that impact a team in a major way. For example, the last time the Ravens one the Super Bowl, one factor that helped them get there rather than the Broncos was the inability of the Broncos defense to prevent explosive plays. As a fan who has watched that phenomena for years, it has been one of two things that has frustrated me about the Broncos defense. It does little good to win the first two downs and put your opponent in tough situations, if you don't prevent the long third down come back, or worse give up an explosive play that puts the other team in scoring position. Now, the game is more subtle than that, but that's why we need a variety of metrics. One wants their team to do well in DVOA, because that means one is winning the play-by-play battle. However, one also wants to win the explosive play battle, as that can turn a gut into a stomp (or prevent one from being on the wrong side of a close game where one key play gave the other team the advantage that could not be recovered from).

I know there isn't room in the DVOA table for more columns, but it would be nice to see each week how teams are doing in both explosive offense (XO) and above average (XOA) and explosive defense (XD and XDA) rated the same way that DVOA is measured (XDA is a negative number showing how much less XO the defense allows compared to the average team). And, obviously one can carry that even further to DXOA and DXDA. (I would speculate that giving up a big play to the Saints or Raiders is less significant (more teams will fall prey to it) than giving up one to the Rams.)

I know that doing that is probably a big project, but it would go a long way to quelling some of the criticism of DVOA, as I suspect that rankings of DXOA would be different in some of the key cases, in particular some of the cases where DVOA seems to "get it wrong", because DVOA isn't getting what it is trying to measure wrong, but other factors are important in that W-L column beyond what DVOA measures. I suspect a team that did well in both DVOA and DXOA would do well in almost all "power rankings".

6
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 10:48am

Interestingly, both Seattle and Denver got gashed pretty hard with explosive plays on Sunday, with Seattle giving up 7 (out of 62) and Denver giving up 6 (out of 51), although they had a big enough lead over number 3 Minnesota that they're still 1 and 2 in the rankings.

Is this methodology perfect? No it is not. This will still result in things like a 21-yard gain on third-and-20 not counting as XP and producing barely any XY. I'm satisfied in that for now though, because those plays are rare.

As it happens, such a play just occurred against Seattle, when Brady completed a 33-yard pass on 3rd-and-25. I usually can't stand it when defenses drop way back and give up large chunks of yards short of a first down on third-and-very long, like 14 yards on 3rd-and-20, because it seemed like it's needlessly giving better field position to the offense on the punt, but I guess this is the sort of play they're trying to prevent.

9
by Joe Pancake :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 11:51am

"I usually can't stand it when defenses drop way back..."

In this case, the Pats were on the edge of field goal range, so the Seahawks probably didn't want to concede the 15-yard dump-off over the middle. They manned up Edelman on the outside, and Brady dropped one perfectly into the bucket. It happens. (And it happened a lot for both teams. I don't remember the last time I watched a game with so many indefensible passes.)

The Seahawks D, although not giving up XPs, have been *brutal* on third down of late. In the past three games, they've allowed conversions on 27 of 42 third downs for a staggering 64%.

Of course, they have played a top six offense in DVOA in all three games, and they were decent on third down before that (e.g., held the Falcons, the number one DVOA team, to 3 of 11), so maybe it's just a blip. But as a fan, it's so frustrating to watch teams consistently move the chains against an otherwise stout defense.

11
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 12:34pm

They manned up Edelman on the outside, and Brady dropped one perfectly into the bucket.

I don't know if they've been doing this more this year, but I was really surprised at how often Brady went deep, considering their reputation for dinking and dunking unstoppably down the field. Maybe Seattle decided to emphasize defending the short stuff so the deep routes were easier.

Of course, they have played a top six offense in DVOA in all three games, and they were decent on third down before that (e.g., held the Falcons, the number one DVOA team, to 3 of 11), so maybe it's just a blip.

It's almost entirely due to Bennett being out. The same thing happened in 2012. With only one good rusher in Clemons, they only had a league-average opponent third down percentage that year, and even worse on third-and-long (damn Trufant). This year, they're 6th-worst at opponent third down percentage, and unlike 2012 they're bad at forcing turnovers, so it's pretty remarkable that they're second in scoring defense. I guess it's because of stuff like limiting explosive plays.

12
by RickD :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 12:48pm

Brady spent a lot of this offseason working on his deep ball. It looks a lot better now than it did in 2015.

It's funny seeing him rated right ahead of Wilson, who had a much better game by conventional stats. PFF also gave him a better grade, and Seahawk fans were apoplectic. But, I say, Wilson got to play against the Patriots defense, while Brady had to deal with the Seahawks D, which is considerably better.

19
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:51pm

I can see why a subjective rating system like PFF might rate Brady higher. Seattle's coverage was much better than New England's, and Brady had to pass into narrower windows than Wilson throughout the game. As for DYAR, apart from the opponent adjustments, Wilson also had some really bad numbers within New England's 15-yard line. Only 2-7 for 19 yards, one sack and one intentional grounding, though he did have that TD. Also missed a two-point conversion try.

Speaking of red zone offense, I noticed that Bevell called a few of those angle routes (slant then corner) in this game that New England victimized Seattle with at the goal line in the Super Bowl. I don't know if they've been doing them in earlier games, but I immediately noticed it when Wilson missed Richardson on one on 1st-and-goal from the 6.

20
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:54pm

Bevel really likes those plays. I don't know why, his QB has to throw around his line. It's like Bevel thought, "What play would most accentuate the one glaring weakness of my QB?"
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

35
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 3:33pm

Huh? What does the OL have to do with that route? I meant one where the receiver slants in then slants out.

Here's Edelman getting the game-winning TD in the Super Bowl with that route: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edwQnL-BYAI

And here's Prosise running a similar route (12 seconds into the video), although other other receivers cleared out some space for him: http://www.seahawks.com/video/2016/11/13/week-10-russell-wilson-highligh...

36
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 4:01pm

Sorry, I was thinking just slant, not the slant then corner combo. My error.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

26
by RBroPF :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 2:41pm

By conventional stats Brady threw for almost as much yardage as Wilson with a better completion percentage and more yards per attempt. The big difference in the conventional stats was the long interception (arm punt!) and the fact that they used Blount to punch in touchdowns at the goal line.

31
by Joe Pancake :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 3:11pm

Both were awesome. I wouldn't argue with either side saying one was better than the other.

37
by RickD :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 4:02pm

Yes, well, we're talking PFF-commenter level analysis. "Wilson had 3 TDs and 0 Ints! Brady had 0 TDs and 1 Int!"

34
by formido :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 3:30pm

Probably not too apoplectic since PFF gave Wilson its midseason MVP award. By and large, Wilson benefits a lot more than most QBs when you actually adjust for offensive line/opponent quality, but most people only look at the numbers in the paper.

7
by PatsFan :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 10:56am

I assume Brady came out ahead of Wilson because Wilson took a big penalty for having to play against NE's "defense"?

30
by RBroPF :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 3:03pm

NE's defense prior to this game had DVOA of 1.7%, just slightly below average. I wouldn't think that would create much of a penalty for Wilson.

However, Seattle's defense, at -17.7% should have generated a nice bonus for Brady.

32
by formido :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 3:21pm

An undeservedly large bonus for Brady, as Michael Bennett was out. Seattle's 3rd down defense has fallen dramatically in the last couple of games, as you would expect when losing one of the game's top 5 pass pressure generators.

41
by MJK :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 4:48pm

True, but the Seahawks faced a Pats defense without Jamie Collins. Not as big a hit, true, but the 1.7% defensive DVOA is probably higher than it would have been had Collins been missing the entire year.

8
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 11:26am

Why did Roethlisberger lose so much DYAR? Dallas' pass defense is ranked 17th, right at the league average.

14
by The Powers That Be :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:02pm

I think they're saying that he lost DYAR in his *season* total because of the set of opponents he's faced (including PHI, KC, BAL), not that he lost DYAR based on this game's opponent adjustment.

23
by ChrisS :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 2:23pm

Their pass DVOA is +11% which is fairly bad, but does not seem 40 DYAR bad (increased his DYAR by 25%). Perhaps he earned those adjustment yards by being particularly successful in difficult situations like 3rd and long?

10
by Arkaein :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 12:09pm

Aaron Rodgers is listed with two INTs, but shouldn't this be one for DYAR purposes? The first one was an end of half Hail Mary.

13
by Red :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:00pm

How much DYAR does Big Ben get for his meaningless 44 yard completion to end the game?

16
by jtr :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:32pm

How does DYAR divide the credit on the Jets' screen-and-lateral TD?

EDIT: I see Petty has a TD pass in his stats, so I guess he gets full credit for a passing TD? Not sure how you would split up credit between Marshall catching the screen and Powell grabbing the lateral and scoring the TD.

18
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:44pm

We may not have edited that one right. We're still dealing with issues in our technical feeds. I'll look at it.

38
by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 4:29pm

Regarding comments 10 and 16, I believe the stats posted are conventional stats and there's no relation to how DVOA sees them. At least that's what I've always thought.

40
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 4:39pm

Right. That's where there are errors in the feeds.

17
by BroncFan07 :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:41pm

All three of Cooks' receptions were against Bradley Roby. Roby is a fine player, but there's a stark difference between him and Aqib Talib. Come back, Aqib.

22
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 2:20pm

Roby was outstanding in the first half, I thought. The defense as a whole fell off quite a lot after half time though.

21
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 2:01pm

Hey all. We had a lot of errors in our feed for the Jets-Rams game, so I apologize for any errors above. I'm trying to get it all fixed before running the team DVOA stats.

24
by jtr :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 2:26pm

Even the FO algorithms struggled to pay attention to that game!

27
by RBroPF :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 2:42pm

+1

Laughing my butt off!

28
by mrt1212 :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 2:59pm

Why are there only 29 QBs rated?

29
by Travis :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 3:02pm

There were only 14 games this week, and only the Browns used multiple QBs who qualified.

39
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 4:30pm

Bradys deep ball has been the best its been since hes been in the league. What was once a clear weakness in his game is looking more and more like a strength. I guess he figured it out just in the nick of time.

42
by RBroPF :: Tue, 11/15/2016 - 5:48pm

We're dealing with small sample sizes so I don't know if it will continue, but it really does look like he's somehow managed to dramatically improve his deep accuracy this year. Especially if you've already blocked out that ugly interception where he under-threw Mitchell by about 20 yards.